“It’s getting so you never know when things are better left alone…”

So “Quid Plura?” enjoyed a record number of visitors in January. Who knew you were all so curious about the inner lives of gargoyles?

Perhaps you’ll also like these random links, which have been hand-selected and flash-pasteurized especially for you on this chilly Tuesday evening.

Novelist Leslie Pietrzyk talks about her autographed copy of The Catcher in the Rye.

This refreshing New York Times piece debunks the tedious conventional wisdom among English teachers that J.D. Salinger was holed up in Cornish like Hitler in his bunker.

Speaking of people who bowed out before others got sick of them, here’s an interview with Bill Watterson.

Sometimes, life’s second acts surprise me: Larry Tagg, bassist for the underappreciated ’80s pop band Bourgeois Tagg, is now writing books about Abraham Lincoln.

The author of The Invisible Hook defends the medieval trial by ordeal.

Jake Seliger re-reads High Fidelity.

Shatner reads Poe.

Lingwë asks, “When is an English root word like a Mafia don?”

4 thoughts on ““It’s getting so you never know when things are better left alone…”

  1. Thanks very much for the mention, Jeff. Music and writing–both are a struggle against a blank page. I was always the guy on the tour bus curled up with a book in my bunk.

    Yours,
    Larry

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  2. I have to say I don’t think much of that post about trial by ordeal. Any discussion of ordeal as a system is flawed from the get-go, because what it is is a mechanism to patch the system when whatever other means of judgement could be employed broke down, so it’s only deployed in unusual cases; but in any case his idea that the guilty would have avoided the ordeal because they believed they’d fail it is falsed by any confrontation with the actual trial records or the work of anyone who’s worked on them, which this guy doesn’t really seem to have encountered.

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  3. Larry — Thanks for stopping by!

    Jonathan — Yes, and as a literature person, I’m struck by how often one stumbles across the motif of the tricked ordeal, but there’s no mention of that in his piece either. Even as someone who hasn’t looked at the trial records, I did notice his almost complete omission of the patch-the-system aspect of ordeals, which I think undercuts the guy’s attempt to put forward some counterintuitive ideas. My link wasn’t really an endorsement; I was just a little stunned to see a newspaper column discussing medieval ordeals in any capacity.

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  4. Indeed! But one could wish it wasn’t this weird “irrationality is really rational because economics still rests on the idea that humans choose rationally despite the recent crashes proving otherwise so y’know it must be rational” attempt at it. I mean, why this?

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